Cultural identifiers of the insider
Aside from the obvious cultural differences between regions of the United States, there are also other behaviors that divide the insider from the outsider, some of them very subtle. For example, in Hawai'i people don't nod at each other in acknowledgement; they raise their chin -- a gesture that would be considered a challenge in some other parts of the country. Another identifier is skin color -- even the least beach-going haole in Hawai'i has a low-level tan that makes them distinct from a resident of the mainland.
Possibly the biggest cultural identifier here, though, is the Hawaiian accent. It's sort of a remnant of Pidgin English -- a mixture of all the languages of the farm laborers of 19th and early 20th century Hawai'i, slapped on top of Hawaiian grammar and intonation.
When my brother and I were growing up, we lived in a sort of bi-lingual world: We spoke "correct" American English at home, but at school we spoke pidgin. It's not something we really noticed we were doing. For example, we were visiting our relatives in Detroit once and our Mom asked me to speak some pidgin for them; I had no idea what she was talking about.
As I grew older, and especially after I moved to the mainland, I spoke almost no pidgin, and my background pidgin/Hawaiian accent faded considerably. I could still speak it when I wanted to, and I'd sometimes put on the accent for effect, but it wasn't a part of my daily life.
Except, that is, when I come home to Hawai'i. Then my latent pidgin accent comes back like a ghost at the outskirts of my mouth, occasionally flaring up as strong as ever. Usually I just find it funny, but occasionally it's helpful.
Case in point: Today Miz Becky and I took a drive, and on a whim we decided to visit Sea Life Park, which I hadn't visited for probably 20 years.
We waited in line, and as we got closer to the ticket booth I saw that a ticket was about $25. "Crap, I'm not paying that," I said, and we got out of line. Becky convinced me, however, that $25 isn't unexpected for this kind of attraction, and I did want to see the place, so we got back in line.
As we got up to the ticket window, the woman at the window finished the transaction of the people in front of us, and then had to go deal with something at the other ticket window. She said "One moment please," and as she turned away I replied "No hurry!" And as I said that, I realized that the latent accent had flared up again.
When she returned to the window, the ticket agent looked at me a bit closely, smiled, and said "For being so patient, only 26 dollars please." I said "Tanks!" -- accent still in full force -- we paid, and we walked away.
Becky looked at me curiously. "$26 total?"
It seemed odd to me, too. Then the same thought came to both of us at the same time -- she had charged us the kama'aina rate, purely on the basis of that intangible cultural signifier.
And, I gotta tell you, that's the most it's ever done for me. Nah nah nah! Only kidding, yeah?
rfkj, on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 at 10:11 PM:
I love SLP, even though they haven't changed the Whaler's Cove show in approximately forever. You got lucky--my parents always get carded when we go there, although for some reason I can get through sometimes, too.
The chin thing comes, culturally, from a disinclination towards pointing in general. Take a close look, and I think you'll see more often than not that we'll indicate direction and location with the chin as well. I also got slapped by my aunties for using my hands to indicate "come inside", using a sort of gathering-inward motion; it was rude, they said, because it was greedy.
One disconcerting thing that I found the last time we visited was that they somehow changed the rules for handshaking. Literally every male I met would do the handshake-and-a-hug, hands-clasped-between-us shake. Even the ones that I never got along with when I was growing up.
Whenever we go home, everyone says "Oh my God, you're so pale," yet I'm the darkest person I know in these parts. It's pretty funny. I now get asked where I'm visiting from when we go home, and depending on my mood, I'll either say "Wisconsin" or "Kaimuki" (where my parents live now).
Mokihana, on Friday, June 10, 2005 at 5:02 PM:
I know exactly what you mean about the accent. Okay, I am trying to speak good English here, not pidgin! When I first moved to the mainland, I was teased unmercifully about my accent, and because it was such a difficult time in my life,I tried hard to squelch it in order to fit in. It never went away... it was just hidden for awhile.
Now it is some years later, and I am finally coming into my own, becoming the person that I was intended to be: I am LOCAL! I may live on the mainland now, but my cultural heritage is Hawaiian to the core. I am now cutting loose with my accent, reclaiming that part of me that I lost. At www.alohaworld.com, on the message board, my friends and I buss out da pidgin, and when we get together in 3-D, forget King's English, forget toning down the accent: we are 100% local!
If my friends ask me why I suddenly have an accent, I just tell them I'm tired of pretending and it's who I am.
This has been a valuable lesson for me; I don't have to give up my accent to be accepted. Who would ask a Brit, or a French person, or a Russian, to give up theirs?
I am me. Mokihana. Hear me roar (with a local accent, of course!)
My, that was some rain
Well, the lights went in easily; fortunately light fixture mounting standards are still the same 30 years later, so replacing the old with the new was zippy quick. If I had a way to download my pix here, I'd be showing you, but since I can't, well, you'll just have to be impressed at my mad light fixcha skillz without seeing any proof.
We did in fact head off to Foster Gardens this afternoon, to see Michelle and 15-month old Alexandra (Alex to her friends). Alex was supah cute, as promised (insert more imaginary pictures here) and it was great to see Michelle, 15 years later. We walked a little, we released Alex and watched her pick up sticks, and we walked some more.
About 40 minutes into our visit, we started to feel a few raindrops. I, always the hopeful type, said "I think this is going to pass." I was right -- it did pass, about an hour later, after dropping something like an inch of water on us. We're talking real tropical storm deluge type weather here. After trying the theory of "hanging out under a tree 'til it passes" and getting soaked anyway, we made a break for the covered area at the entrance to Foster Gardens. Man oh man, it's been a long time since I've seen a rain like that. Soaked to the skin, water running down steps and carrying gravel along, it was a sight.
Tomorrow, our big plan is to go swimming. In the ocean. Which we somehow haven't gotten around to, yet. What have we been thinking?
rfkj, on Monday, December 29, 2003 at 2:59 PM:
Hey, the last time I went to Foster Gardens it rained small domesticated animals as well. Bizarre.
Whenever we go back home, I vow to myself that we will go to the beach every day, and we usually end up managing to go approximately once.
I just got a picture of Alex today, and I also say she is cute, in case there are any doubts.
Aloha from Honolulu
Well, we've been here a few days now, so I figured I should check in. But what is there to say, really? Hawai'i is beautiful, as always. Honolulu is a little more overgrown than I remember, but not by much. Tourism seems to have recovered entirely from the 30% drop we experienced after 9/11 -- given that every seat on every flight is booked from now 'til January 6 or so.
My parents, the brother-thing, and Miz Becky and I are all staying in our tiny, maybe 900 square foot apartment. Whenever we're all here it amazes me that my parents had enough space to fit two growing boys in here somewhere. Mostly I think we survived by not spending a lot of time actually in the apartment, which is also our strategy here.
Yesterday we all went to the Honolulu Academy of Arts, where there was a large show of photographs from the collection of a local couple. Really beautiful stuff, and an excellent collection. I think Mom's comment said it best -- everything in the collection is very clearly seen; they're all strong executions of good ideas. Very inspiring, certainly.
There's supposed to be some fierce rainstorms coming through this week, although looking at the satellite photos it looks like they may have blown themselves out. It's certainly beautiful this morning.
Anyway, if it's not raining this afternoon, we're planning to head off to Foster Botanical Gardens and get some plant-viewing in, as well as to meet up with my old friend Michelle and her toddler -- who the brother-thing reports is supah cute.
But first things first -- my task this morning is to install new lights in my parents' dining room. Off to put on my electrician hat!
Uncle Vinny, on Monday, December 29, 2003 at 12:27 AM:
How can you say "It's certainly beautiful this morning" and not attach a picture?! (Also, as of this writing, you have an unclosed hover-tag on the Aloha-no phrase.) Ok, I'm done complaining now.
David Adam Edelstein, on Monday, December 29, 2003 at 12:41 AM:
I can say that without a picture because I don't have a damn way to download or upload pix while on the road.
Do I hear the siren song of a 12" toshiba laptop calling my name? Why, yes, I do.
rfkj, on Monday, December 29, 2003 at 2:54 PM:
s/"toshiba laptop"/"Apple iBook"
Hey, go to my parents' house and upload from there. My dad just got DSL!
Survival by scorn
Question: What is the secret to surviving winter in Seattle? Answer: Scorn. Every morning I lean out my bedroom window and yell "Hah! I spit at your rain! I scoff at your darkness!" Then I put on my waterproof undies, bundle myself in fleece, attach a headlamp to my baseball cap, and venture out.
If you've never been to Seattle during the winter, MomBrain is here to tell you: It's not the rain that gets you. It's the darkness. It's frickin' dark all the time. Seattle is so far north that the day is short anyway. But when you add 17 layers of dense clouds blanketing the city without a break from November to April, well, you can see why MomBrain is prone to purple prose and sudden fits of weeping. By March the entire mushroom-white population is blinking like eyeless moles and booking spring-training flights to Arizona. (And I do mean white -- even the three African-Americans who live here are downright pasty by spring. Or heck, maybe we *do* have a more diverse population, but you just can't tell.)
I, of course, am enjoying the smug serenity of someone who is flying to Hawai'i tomorrow, because my parents had the good sense to raise me and my brother in a civilized part of the world. Why we were fools enough to leave, well, that's another story.
A little old-fashioned war profiteering
So we're here at Becky's parents' house. They watch TV, specifically the Fox News network (I'm guessing it's a 24 hour cable network? Anyone?).
Fox News just had their Christmas Eve signoff -- shots of everyone on the team, the editing booth singing badly, dog schtick, etc.
The part that disturbed me was the repeated references to the "Cost of Freedom Business Group". "Happy holidays from all of us at the Cost of Freedom business group." "Thanks for helping us have a happy and, above all, profitable year."
Am I just crabby and reactionary (always a possibility) or is that creepy? Is it disturbing that they acknowledge so publicly that our unpleasant engagement in Iraq is good for their bottom line?
The memory of garlic
While we were driving back to Miz Becky's parents' house after having dinner with them (at the regrettable McNary Golf Club), we saw a grocery store reader board advertising "Porketta roasts". None of us had any idea what that was supposed to mean, but we quickly turned it into a woman's name, which segued into a story about a childhood friend of Becky's parents named "Orgetta". Going down the path of -etta names reminded me of a great woman who used to work in the cafeterias at Microsoft.
Her name was DeeEtta, but I first knew her as the Loud Lady. DeeEtta was a very strong woman, and a very sweet person, but she wasn't too interested in social niceties. People who walked up to her station would be greeted from ten feet away with "WHAT'LL IT BE?" It seemed like her voice went from shout to louder shout; she didn't just go to eleven, she started at eleven.
I liked her at once, and chatted with her a few times on slow days. She grew up on a farm in Montana, which probably explained her attitude towards working in the cafeteria: "STARTED TAKING CARE OF THE HORSES AT FOUR YEARS OLD. GENTLED MY FIRST HORSE AT TEN. HELL, ANY JOB WHERE I DON'T HAVE TO GET UP AT FOUR A.M. IN THE SNOW AND TOUCH ICE-COLD COW TITTIES IS A GOOD JOB."
I forget, now, what her station usually was; but a couple of times a week, in those days, her station dispensed Ceasar salads. I don't know if everyone who served Ceasar salads made their own dressings, but DeeEtta sure did, and like her speaking style, she didn't believe in subtlety. "GARLIC IS THE BEST DAMN THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF. IT'LL CURE COLDS FASTER THAN ORANGE JUICE, THAT'S FOR SURE." She put so much garlic in the dressing that it was actually spicy hot. And it was good.
Once, I made the mistake of trying to brush my teeth after having one of DeeEtta's salads. Instead of reducing the smell, as I had hoped, I endured an afternoon of the garlic and the toothpaste engaging in open warfare in my mouth. I've never felt anything quite the same. My mouth felt slick and tingly and garlickly and pepperminty for hours afterwards.
People who were normally too afraid of DeeEtta to order from her station would line up eight or ten deep when she was serving Ceasar salad. They'd answer nervously as she quizzed them about their order: "YOU WANT CHICKEN ON THAT? SALMON? JUST PLAIN? OK!".
DeeEtta retired a few years ago; I was lucky enough to eat in her cafeteria on her last day ("I'M GETTIN' THE HELL OUT OF HERE BEFORE I FORGET HOW TO RIDE A HORSE!") and to get a chance to thank her for all of the great salads and stories over the years.
I had actually been thinking about DeeEtta a couple of weeks ago. I was having lunch in building 25 and walked by her old station. They were serving Ceasar salads (a much rarer thing these days) and the person working there had just filled a big metal bowl with lettuce.
After putting the bowl down, he reached into the fridge and pulled out a big jug of... Kraft Ceasar Salad Dressing.
Uncle Vinny, on Saturday, December 27, 2003 at 9:47 PM:
IT'S SPELLED 'CAESAR', NOT 'CEASAR', YOU MORON! YOU GOT CAESAR, YOU GOT A SALAD AN' AN EMPEROR. YOU GOT CEASAR, YOU GOT DICK! CHRIST, I TALK TO MY HORSE, HE HAS MORE SENSE.
First post on the new site
Well, if you're reading this, then it means we're back in business.
Some absence coming up
We here at Noise to Signal will be out of town for a little while over the holidays, and thus the blogging will be spotty at best.
I'm also going to try to move my blog to a new host while that's happening. Hopefully all will be transparent to you, the faithful viewer.
In case you're in dire need of something to say "Oooooooh" about, here's a little something Jenn passed on:
Powers of Ten
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida has put up a very interesting Java applet on their site.
It begins as a view of the Milky Way Galaxy viewed from a distance of 10 million light years and then zooms into towards Earth in powers of ten - of distance 10 million, to one million, to 100,000 light years and so on and then when it finally reaches a large oak tree leaf.
But that is not all - it zooms into the leaf until it reaches to the level of the quarks viewed at 100 attometers.
Why yes, I did watch it several times. Why?
Light and paper
While rebooting a few minutes ago, I noticed the winter sun lighting up the samples of Benton Sans I had taped to my whiteboard earlier this morning. Is that a message? It is a beautiful typeface (I'm particularly fond of the light compressed and extra compressed).
My kinda Christmas
Thanks to Dmitry Polyakovsky. Origin unknown.
'Twas The Night Before Christmas (Jewish Style)
'Twas the night before Christmas, and we, being Jews,
My girlfriend and me - we had nothing to do.
The gentiles were home, hanging stockings with care,
Secure in their knowledge St. Nick would be there.
But for us, once the Chanukah candles burned down,
There was nothing but boredom all over town.
The malls and the theaters were all closed up tight;
There weren't any concerts to go to that night.
A dance would have saved us, some ballroom or swing,
But we searched through the papers; there wasn't a thing.
Outside the window sat 2 feet of snow;
With the wind chill, they said, it was 15 below.
And while all I could do was sit there a brood,
My girl saved the night and called out: "CHINESE FOOD!"
So we ran to the closet, grabbed hats, mitts and boots -
To cover out heads, our hands and our foots.
We pulled on our jackets, all puffy with down,
And boarded the T bound for old Chinatown.
The train nearly empty, it rolled through the stops,
While visions of wontons danced through our kopfs.
We hopped off at Park Street; the Common was bright
With fresh-fallen snow and the trees strung with lights,
We crept through "The Zone" with its bums and its thugs,
And entrepreneurs selling ladies and drugs.
At last we reached chinatown, rushed through the gate,
Past bakeries, markets, shops and cafes,
In search of a restaurant: "Which one? Let's decide!"
We chose "Hunan Chozer," and ventured inside.
Around us sat others, their platters piled high
With the finest of fine foods their money could buy:
There was roast duck and fried squid, (sweet, sour and spiced,)
Dried beef and mixed veggies, lo mein and fried rice,
Whole fish and moo shi and shrimp chow mee foon,
And General Gau's chicken a ma po tofu...
When at last we decided, and the waiter did call,
We said: "Skip the menu!" and ordered it all.
And when in due time the food was all made,
It came to the table in a sort of parade.
Before us sat dim sum, spare ribs and egg rolls,
And four different soups, in four great, huge bowls.
And chicken wings! Dumplings! and Beef Teriakis!
The courses kept coming from spicy to mild,
And higher and higher toward the ceiling were piled.
And while this went on, we became aware
Every diner around us had started to stare.
Their jaws hanging open, they looked on unblinking;
Some dropped their teacups, some drooled without thinking.
So much piled up, one dish after another,
My girlfriend and I couldn't see one another!
Now we sait there, we two, without proper utensils,
While they handed us something that looked like two pencils.
We poked and we jabbed till our fingers were sore
And half of our dinner wound up on the floor.
We tried - how we tried - but, said truth to tell,
Ten long minutes later and still hungry as hell,
We swallowed our pride, feeling vaguely like dorks,
And called to our waiter to bring us two forks.
We fressed and we feastered, we slurped and we munched;
We noshed and we supped, we breakfast'd and lunched.
We ate till we couldn't and drank down our teas
And barely had room for our fortune cookies.
But my fortune was perfect; it summed up the mood
When it said: "Pork is kosher, when its in Chinese food."
And my girlfriend - well... she got a real winner;
Her's said: "Your companion will pay for the dinner."
Our bellies were full and at last it was time
To travel back home and write some bad rhyme
Of our Chinatown trek (and to privately speak
About trying to refine our chopstick technique).
The MSG spun round and round in our heads,
And we tripped and we laughed and gaily we said,
As we carried our leftovers home through the night:
"Good Yom Tov to all - and to all a Good Night!"
The feeding habits of the felis domesticus
Dear cat behaviorist type person,
I'm writing to you to ask about a, well, a problem we're having with one of our cats.
Edgar has always been a normal cat, at least relative to other cats. He's a little mercurial, of course, and has a bit of a habit of licking himself bare, but nothing really outlandish.
Lately, however, he's developed a bit of a taste for, well, bread.
Specifically, twice now he's wrestled part of a loaf of bread (in a plastic bag) out of the bowl we keep bread in, off the counter, down the length of the kitchen, and down the stairs to the basement, where we found both loaves.
The first loaf made it look like it was more of a plaything, but with the second one he's actually chewed a hole in the corner and eaten some of the bread.
What makes it worse, of course, is that he's supposed to be on Atkins, and so not only do we have to scold him about playing with the bread, but we have to lecture him about carbs as well.
What are we to do? Clearly part of the answer is to hide our bread away. But what's next? Will we find the toaster at the foot of the basement stairs, after a futile attempt to heat some toaster waffles?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give us.
Jennifer, on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 at 11:46 AM:
It could possibly be a love of the plastic wrap the bread is in. My cat has this "thing" where she steals plastic bags and licks them. It's the weirdest thing. Any chewing on things inside the bag are purely accidental for her.
Heather, on Thursday, January 8, 2004 at 11:19 PM:
Have you tried switching to english muffins?
A little something for you
I was trying out some techniques for an entirely unrelated project here at work, and this weird little scene showed up.
Odd how the origins of these strange things can be something as mundane as fussing with compositing methods in Photoshop.
Philosophy to start your day out right
Tatsuya-san is getting all philosophical on us over at Sinfest:
And now for some words of wisdom:
- A Zen koan: Zen master said to his pupil, "I own you, bitch. Know that." And the pupil was owned. And he knew it.
- The Tao of Tat: Do not seek your own advantage. That might prevent me from gaining the upper hand.
- Confucius say: One day people from every race and culture will eat my food and bust open my cookie and read my Goddamn philosophy, boyyyyyyyy! East side! Huh!
- Jedi proverb: Fun to put the predicate ahead of the subject, it is.
- Famous Cat Aphorism: Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow. Meowwwwwww.
- Crazy people wisdom: Holy bong bong doogle my mixy! Worship my Bangkok, peanut face! Scooby snack vroom!
- Your daily affirmation: I am the shiznit. I am off the hizzle. And doggone it, people dig me!
A lovely fruitbasket... sort of.
Shot out back of the Yakima Fruit Market -- which, strangely, is in Bothell, not Yakima.
Edgar's holiday card
Edgar and I have been working day and night on the photo for the holiday card he's going to send out to everyone on his mailing list. We think we've got a winner:
Of course, it wasn't until after I had spent hours and hours working with him on this shoot that he told me the truth: He doesn't have a mailing list. He just wanted a cheap excuse to roll around and show his sexy belly to the camera.
So you want to class the joint up a bit, but everyone you know already has a print of that "dogs playing poker" poster?
How about dogs playing pool?
Nota bene as well that stylish glowing marbled guitar model thing.
Another Circus photo
No, no naked clowns for you. But here's an old favorite that I came across while doing some new scans for the Circus folks:
This is going around in e-mail today; origin unknown.
What happens when you have
- nothing to do
- a sharp knife
- a large lime (or a small orange if you're in TN)
- a patient cat
- too much tequila
- and it's football season?
Via Marcia and Beth.
Efficiency in packing
Today, when I got to my office, I found a large box waiting for me:
"Wow," I thought, "I don't remember ordering anything large."
Imagine my delight to find that the only thing in the box was my new keyboard wrist rest:
Alasdair, next door, said it best: "Sometimes, man, I just don't understand this world."
(The wrist rest, by the way, a Fellowes "Crystal" gel model, is quite nice.)
Erik Hansen, on Saturday, December 13, 2003 at 7:29 PM:
Must be the "keyboard" size... Friday morning I got out of my edit session and waiting at my workstation was a gigantic box. In it was my Final Cut Pro keyboard. How very, very disappointing...
A real photo can still lie
There's a lot of discussion right now, as digital photography takes over from film, about whether digital photos can be "trusted".
The logic goes that because with a film image there's always the original negative to go back to, it's inherently more trustworthy than a digital image, where there's no unalterable original form.
Ignoring the fallacies in that argument for now... what I really want to talk about is how a photo, whether digital or film, can still tell a lie even if the photo hasn't been manipulated.
At issue is the photo at right, of Mr. Bush, during his "daring visit to Baghdad", apparently carrying a roast turkey on a platter, bringing it to the troops. You may have seen it on the front page of your local paper.
But, as Misleader.org reports:
According to the Washington Post, Bush was actually holding "a decoration, not a serving plate." In other words, he was holding a prop, not real food, and thus only pretending for the cameras to be serving up the holiday meal.
The White House will undoubtedly say in their defense that they never said it was a real turkey. Which may be true.
The point, though, is that they didn't have to. Thanksgiving is such an emotionally potent holiday in this country -- family, togetherness, cooperation -- that just one image of Mr. Bush carrying something that resembles a turkey to our young men and women in Iraq is a more powerful message than anything the White House could put in a press release. Let's get along. Let's work together. The patriarch has everything under control. Don't question him, just pass the sweet potatoes. Look, he's there for our troops.
(That last one, at least, being patently false: He may have been carrying a fake turkey, but the massive cuts in the White House's 2004 budget to programs that support military families are real. Housing, schools, or medical care for veterans, anyone?)
More about this on the Misleader site: Photograph of Fake Turkey Captures Bush Misleading.
rfkj, on Tuesday, December 9, 2003 at 8:54 AM:
Don't forget the (attempted? actual? I don't remember) cutting of death benefits to the families of service personnel killed in action, as well as the reduction in eligibility for hazardous-duty pay. "Help has arrived," my ass.
Why yes, it *is* a roman D20.
Did y'all catch the mention of the roman D20 on Game Girl Advance?
The catalog entry notes: "Several polyhedra in various materials with similar symbols are known from the Roman period. Modern scholarship has not yet established the game for which these dice were used. "
Well, I think *we* all know what game it was used for! But my question is, before the fantasy Middle Ages, in what setting did the Romans play D&D? Ancient Egypt? Biblical times? Babylonian?
Sun Friday, on Saturday, January 10, 2004 at 10:13 PM:
That is SO cool.
They're gonna take Vince's phone away
He's playing Opportunistic Psychic again.
A form of validation
I later heard from the Executive Director that there had been some pretty harsh criticism of the class that unfortunately didn't make it into the evaluations -- primarily that some of the students thought there was too much focus on design, and not enough time spent working with the tools.
Probably a valid criticism, but when I was planning that first version of the class I decided that the design sections were hugely important. A portfolio site has to support the work. If it doesn't, that disconnect gets in the way of the work. So I spent a lot of time working with the students on refining their sites, pushing them to refine their designs as much as they could.
And it worked, from my point of view: Every site design not only reflected the individual photgraphers' work; it also reflected their design sense, not mine.
The point of all of this is that I got a beautiful note from one of the students from that class today:
Hello David, I wanted to let you know that my website is the featured site of the month at Photo Techniques Magazine newsletter. It was just posted today. I'm sending a link if you want to take a look, or it's under "portfolio" at www.phototechmag.com
Thank you again for all your help and design expertise in the challenge of getting the site to compliment the photos. I wish you very happy holidays. Best Regards, Connie
Ain't that the best?
In case you're reading this after this month, here's the direct link to Connie's site.
"Tell us that story again, Bob... please?"
Sorry to have been so quiet the last few days... I've been super busy with work and extra-curricular activities, plus ministering to the influenza-ridden Miz Becky.
I do have a quick story for you, though.
Tuesday night I was at the aforementioned Circus shoot. We were getting some photos together for an event they're doing in January; the theme of the event is "strip club". That means that at the shoot there were, well, uh... Oh, I'll come right out and say it. Naked clowns. And if that doesn't scare ya...
They're cold and hungry. So they order pizza.
Alert readers can already see where this is going.
After they get off the phone, I look up from where I'm fussing with my lights and say "You know, this is going to be one of those deliveries that goes down in pizza dude legend."
The Circus ladies, in their various states of dishabille, look sideways at each other. And snicker.
Half an hour or so later, the pizza dude shows up, looking just like you'd expect a pizza dude to look. And he's greeted by six half-naked women in clown makeup, jumping up and down, giggling, and screaming "Pizza! Pizza! Yum yum!". And he looks, again, just about like how you'd expect him to look.
"Hey, are you guys rehearsing for some kind of show?"
I would have paid cash money to eavesdrop on the conversation when he got back to the kitchen.
Joshua Edelstein, on Friday, December 5, 2003 at 6:35 AM:
You would think, knowing me, that I--as with your alert readers--would have seen where that was going. But no.
For me, it was the threat of hot cheese and tomato sauce on bare skin.
rfkj, on Friday, December 5, 2003 at 11:15 AM:
I interviewed naked people for my radio show once. The streaking club just kind of showed up at the door to the station, and I dumped the record I was playing and went on the air with the memorable "Uh, there are naked people here." I wish I had taped it. Hearing streakers on the radio is almost as funny as seeing them in person.
Joshua Edelstein, on Friday, December 5, 2003 at 12:21 PM:
And yet, sometimes people have virtually no reaction at all to naked people. My old band used to have a song called "Naked." So, one time, at band camp . . . I mean, a gig, I appropriately *got* naked during the drum solo. I'm standing there playing my strategically lowered bass, jamming along, and there's a girl standing in line for the bathroom on my side of the stage. I smile politely at her, and she just gives me this look of utter boredom.
Maybe she didn't like our music.
timoth, on Friday, December 5, 2003 at 2:22 PM:
(in my best "Beavis and Butthead")
"ahhhh ... huh..."
"...he said naked clowns ...."
To resist was futile ....
Miz Becky zings me
The scene: last night, Miz Becky and I both get home from our respective late evenings at about 9:00. We chat briefly and then get ready to sit down companionably to a snack-and-magazine decompression period.
When I get to the table, I notice that Becky has snagged my brand new issue of Cook's Illustrated, and I make a show of huffing around and finding another magazine to flip through.
Becky ignores me for a few moments, then looks up with an expression of studied boredom. After looking at me briefly, she sniffs the air loudly and looks around the room.
"Do you... do you smell drama queen in here? I sure do."
I collapse in a heap of semi-hysterical laughter.
That's my girl!
Sweet cloud, dude
As a side note, mad props to Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell, the authors of APOD, one of whom is probably responsible for making sure that there's an 'okina (glottal stop) in their correct spelling of Hawai'i on this page.
I am a depressed designer
Miz Becky's delightful sister stayed with us for Thanksgiving last week, and brought along her shiny new Apple Powerbook. I'd seen it a couple of times before, but this was the first time I'd spent much time around it.
One night as I was heading to the kitchen to get a drink of water, I noticed she had left the Powerbook on the dining room table, recharging.
As I walked by, a small white light near the rear center of the closed case caught my eye. I stopped to try to get a better look at it and noticed that it was pulsing. Gently. Slightly faster than, say, a breathing human. Whooooosh... Whoooooosh... Whoooooosh...
I guessed, and she later confirmed, that it was the indicator that the laptop was asleep (as opposed to off). You know. It's breathing.
That one, tiny, stupid little thing is more beautiful and elegant and intuitive and charming than anything, anything at all that we make here at Microsoft. And that's why, though people may use our products, they'll never love our products.
Uncle Vinny, on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 at 5:39 PM:
I'm skeptical whenever people start talking about Apple as though their computers are little angel friends that are a picnic to learn to use. My experiences with Apple Powerbooks and iPods lately were hardly the sort of moonbeam pixieland adventure I'd been led to expect. Mac window controls are very strict and unintuitively labeled, and I noticed that April (who has owned the machine for more than a year) still hasn't figured out how to minimize them. Instead she just drags them all to the side, and is clearly frustrated by how hard it is to find her way among them. The iPod was fun to fondle, but the UI was too minimalist to be useful.
One widely held assumption is that beautiful ideas are somehow able to emerge unscathed from within the immense corporate behemoth that is Apple Computer Corp, but that such a thing could never happen at Microsoft.. I can see that they have a much more effective PR department than we do, but I wonder how that would change if the relative market shares of the companies were reversed? People like to stand up for a little guy, no matter how poor or ugly a fighter he is. Apple has been able to fight off the perception of being "the establishment", and seeing such a huge company get away with that makes me a little cynical.
Insulin... pass the insulin...
Probably a copyright violation, since I recognize a few of the photos from Atsuki Sumida's Kittens in Japan, but what the hell.
Via the irrepressible Andrea Harner.
Digging up old portraits
* How long before we never hear anyone say that again? "Negs? What are those? Is that an old file format?"